5 comments on “Dances By Egypt’s Naima Akef

  1. Wow, the Mambo song is… well … different. I’m glad to see you posting about Egyptian dances again, as going through your archives helped get me into Egyptian cinema in the first place. Likewise, I see you posted one of the clips that went inactive–the one with Houriya Hassan–which I’ve been looking for (solved!). Naima does have a distinctive style, I can see. She’s definitely not as charismatic as some other Egyptian dancers to me, but maybe thats because a lot of these are staged sequences. The camp dance in the orange dress and esp. the Aziza bellydance dance with the fez & cane are my favorites here, perhaps because she doesn’t do what I expect in her routine…and for that kind of audience, you see the reaction as well as the dance, lol.

  2. Miranda, I’m glad you liked these and are still interested in the Egyptian dances… As I was saying above, Naima probably isn’t at the same level of renown (or “charisma”) as Samia Gamal or Tania Carioca. (Talk about “charismatic”… Tahia Carioca is supreme. Some very well-known writers have written tributes to her…) But I like Naima for the reasons I said above – eclectic, versatile, and certainly very creative, and she choreographed her own stuff and led her own troupe. Personally speaking, I also think, if she doesn’t have as much charisma as some others, she makes up for it in cuteness. :)

    Naima and Tahia (or Taheya) are my favorites. I know Samia is regarded as highly as anyone, but if I were to do a ranked list, she would probably come in at number 3.

    Regarding the dances I posted… Yes, the Aziza dance with the fez and cane is one of my couple of favorites. The orange-dress dance is interesting because it has very Indian elements, including the ghungroos, etc. My favorite is the dance from which I took the screen cap, the last of the smaller videos above, with the corn stalk scene at the beginning. (OK, going to the source above, I see that it’s from the 1958 film, Ahebek Ya Hassan (I love You, Hassan).) It takes a while for Naima’s own dance to start here, but once it does, it’s great! .

  3. Swarup, thanks for the link. Readers please note, my Gravatar avatar picture appears next to the comment above because I attempted to move this comment from another post, where it was sent by mistake…and I think this is the best I can do. :)

    I haven’t read the article yet; I will in a little while…

    It is true that there are different threads of dance… I wonder, though, what the common threads are between the way the forms of cinema are set up. To me, the style seems much more similar between Egyptian and Indian song-and-dance sequences, and the way they are set(?) in the films, than the style between either and, say, old Hollywood musical numbers (even taking into account all the times that American cinema from the ’30s onward – e.g., Busby Berkeley – influenced Indian cinema dances). I tend to think that Egypt’s cinema was influenced by India’s, but Egyptian cinema, itself is just as old (though not as prevalent early on). (I checked Wikipedia on this – no fancy research on my part. :) ) Also, there are so many belly dances in Indian cinema, but they are often different. (There is an article that I saw somewhere about that.) I would assume that Indian belly dance is influenced by Egyptian/Middle Eastern, maybe specifically in the cinema? But, again, don’t really know at this point…

  4. Looking through the reference, it actually shows some pretty close parallels between, say, temple dancers of the Middle East and their relationship to dance vs. those in India. It also discusses fertility goddesses, etc. It is interesting, also, how it makes the connections in “Eastern rhythm.”

    I have to say, I am much more impressed by classical Indian dances than belly dances, “Oriental” dances, etc…. I like some belly dancing, but I’d prefer to watch a Kathak any day. (And maybe a Bharatanatyam, though not as often these days. :) ) Or, for that matter, the less strictly classical mujra…

    I like the belly dances in classic Egyptian films more than most, once again, because of the way they’re set up – the whole scenes involved, etc. (Plus, as I’ve said, many of these dances are somewhat eclectic.) The classic dancers also do generally have a unique kind of glamour to them… :)

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